Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, has commended members of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), and the industry’s workforce, for their ‘tremendous’ work in ensuring that tourism remains positive and hopeful.
Addressing the 49th Anniversary of the JHTA, Tuesday (May 11) at the Half Moon Conference Centre, Montego Bay, Mr. Bartlett said that the resilience of the Jamaican people, especially those involved in the tourism industry, has been a positive that must be maintained.
“I want to use the opportunity here to commend the JHTA and the entire tourism industry for keeping Jamaica, as a destination, on top and to enable us to maintain a level of relative economic and social stability in a tumultuous year,” the Minister said.
Minister of Tourism, the Hon Edmund Bartlett, (right) and President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), Wayne Cummings (left) share a light moment during the during the 49th Annual General Meeting of the JHTA at the Half Moon Conference Centre, Montego Bay, Tuesday(May 11).
He noted that the industry has been able to do this, because it has driven demand for goods and services across a wide range of economic activity in the country, to maintain jobs in critical sub-sectors, even outside tourism, and enable foreign exchange generation that put the country into a position where, in the middle of a constant effort to drive an agreement with the IMF, the dollar has maintained a relative state of stability.
He observed that, despite the many and varied challenges of the decade, tourism has been an industry that has bounced back and is now surging ahead with energy, providing growth, creating jobs and building foreign exchange for economies that need it.
“Tourism therefore, for us all, represents that industry with the greatest capability to convert quickly and provide serious poverty alleviation to a world that needs it,” Mr. Bartlett said.
He added that the modest growth of 3.6 per cent last year and a less modest 8.3 per cent up to the end of March this year (2010), were statements that the industry had weathered the storms.
Participants captured on camara during the 49th Annual General Meeting of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association at the Half Moon Conference Centre in Montego Bay Tuesday (May 11).
He stated that, as Jamaica positions for further tourism growth, several key strategies are being pursued including: the enhancement of the product, providing for a more diversified visitor experience in areas such as casino gaming, entertainment, duty-free shopping and new accommodations.
“We are also concentrating on improving efficiency and productivity, as well as increasing competitiveness, which must become watchwords in how we manage the sector from here on,” the Minister emphasized.
“My team and I are ready . we are committed to continue to build a genuine hospitality culture, fostering an innovative and sustainable world class product. We believe that Jamaica’s tourism will continue to grow, and I call upon you, our partners, to continue working with us to ensure that growth,” he urged.
Opposition Spokesman on Tourism, Dr. Wykeham McNeill (right) speaking with John Tercek (centre) Vice President of Commercial Development, Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited, while President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), Wayne Cummings, look on at left. Occasion was the 49th annual general meeting of the JHTA at the Half Moon Conference Centre, Montego Bay, Tuesday (May 11).
President of the JHTA, Wayne Cummings, echoed the commendation of the ‘hardworking members’, who have well represented the diverse interests of the organization.
“Over these 49 years of our existence as a trade association, the JHTA has represented its ever-increasing number of members in the accommodation and allied categories with great fervor and decisiveness,” Mr. Cummings said.